Massive elements of the nation are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. May some areas open sooner than others? If that’s the case, which of them? The Trump administration considers choices.
NOEL KING, HOST:
Massive elements of this nation are shut down. However may some reopen sooner than others? And if that’s the case, which of them? The Trump administration is weighing that query. President Trump despatched a letter to state governors yesterday, and he mentioned he will put collectively new pointers that might categorize counties throughout the U.S. primarily based on their danger stage. To assist us higher perceive what is going on on right here, we have NPR’s well being correspondent Rob Stein and NPR’s political correspondent Scott Detrow. Hey, you guys.
ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Morning.
KING: Scott, let me begin with you. The Trump administration says it is looking forward to pointers that might shift some decision-making energy over to the state stage. What will we find out about this?
DETROW: Yeah, this was a letter to governors indicating the White Home will quickly ship out steering setting new pointers for state and native authorities on what to take a look at to loosen or enhance social distancing, and stay-at-home orders and the opposite steps which have been taken to sluggish the unfold of this virus. And talking yesterday, President Trump as soon as once more sounded very impatient.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I believe it’ll occur fairly shortly. Numerous progress is made, however we obtained to return to work. We could take sections of our nation – we could take massive sections of our nation that are not so significantly affected, and we could do it that manner. However we have to start out the method fairly quickly.
DETROW: And the president sounds more and more wanting to get again to regular. At instances this week, he sounded pissed off with the very measures his administration is pushing to sluggish the unfold. And on the identical time, you could have officers on the frontlines – in New York particularly – warning it’ll get lots worse within the subsequent few weeks; it is nowhere near cresting, and hospitals might be overwhelmed quickly. And likewise, importantly, a variety of the important thing data that you’d must get this county-level knowledge remains to be incomplete.
KING: Together with Rob Stein in these questions on testing – proper? – we’re attempting to determine nonetheless on this nation the place the coronavirus is spreading. You do this by testing. Now, what the president is saying is that the federal authorities may be capable to inform which elements of the nation are at low danger, medium danger, excessive danger. Is that one thing that’s doable proper now or within the close to future?
STEIN: Yeah, you already know, Noel, public well being specialists say it’s encouraging that the administration is speaking about developing with particular standards to information individuals and that it might be primarily based on onerous knowledge. However they’re form of scratching their heads on how we get that knowledge anytime quickly. Here is Jennifer Nuzzo. She’s from Johns Hopkins.
JENNIFER NUZZO: I simply do not suppose there’s a manner proper now for us to even know which counties are high-risk and which counties are low-risk. To have the ability to say, right here is the place individuals do not need to fret about getting the virus – we simply do not have that form of knowledge.
KING: Regardless that the administration says we have now performed greater than 500,000 coronavirus assessments, that there are extra coming, will that get us to the place we should be?
STEIN: It is serving to, however, you already know, a half 1,000,000 assessments remains to be only a drop within the bucket for an enormous nation like the USA. And giving locations a false sense of safety – that makes public well being specialists fear that we may simply be setting them as much as be the subsequent Seattle or New York.
KING: Oh, attention-grabbing. OK, so we have now one situation, which is that this nation’s nonetheless not doing sufficient testing. However I perceive that you have recognized a second situation, which is that there is a downside with a few of the testing.
STEIN: Yeah. Properly, you already know, first, there was the faulty check, after which there weren’t sufficient assessments. Now the issue is, we’re operating wanting the stuff we have to do the flood of testing that’s lastly turning into accessible. You realize, swabs to gather samples from individuals’s noses, particular delivery supplies to maintain the samples viable till they’ll get to the labs for the testing after which the chemical substances wanted to extract and analyze the genetic materials from the virus – all that’s operating quick.
And that is snarling the testing, delaying outcomes and forcing the labs to show individuals away. And you already know, mockingly, it is the massive ramp-up of testing that’s inflicting this. Here is Joanne Bartkus. She heads the state public well being lab in Minnesota.
JOANNE BARTKUS: Consider chocolate chip cookies. You want flour, and sugar and eggs. And we have sufficient flour to make, you already know, 24 cookies, however the host has simply invited 500 individuals to our occasion, and now we will be wanting sugar. After which we get sugar in, after which the eggs are gone. After which we discover out that the host has invited your entire, you already know, metropolis of Minneapolis to the occasion, after which we’re operating out of different provides as properly.
KING: Scott, we have kind of seen this example all through President Trump’s time in workplace when he talks about some issues that he’d actually love to do however that may’t occur proper now. Now, Rob has simply laid out why this stuff cannot occur proper on this second. What’s the impact of the president kind of saying what he needs to get performed despite the fact that it may well’t get performed?
DETROW: Yeah, you are beginning to see indicators that that is starting to go the best way that almost each different nationwide situation appears to go, and that is one thing that is considered nearly fully by means of partisan lenses. So despite the fact that you do have many Republican governors going through this disaster pushing again and saying, extra time is required; this isn’t the time to start out opening issues up, a variety of the president’s allies are beginning to push for this Easter timeline, and even specific skepticism on-line and on TV concerning the severity of coronavirus and repeating a factor that the president has mentioned a couple of instances this week, that that is in proportion to the flu and even automotive crashes.
And the direct response to this push to open quick is that enterprise as common may make this work – worse on a well being stage and on an financial stage if it occurs too quickly.
KING: Rob Stein, I wish to end with the final query to you. We all know the massive headline this morning is that the U.S. is now reporting extra instances than China or another nation. Why is that important?
STEIN: You realize, all of the testing and different issues that we have had the U.S. has kind of squandered an important window of alternative that the U.S. needed to get forward of the pandemic. And China fought the virus very in another way than the U.S. has up to now. Along with large testing, China deployed legions of well being employees to trace down and isolate each case and quarantine all of the contacts.
KING: And but nonetheless…
STEIN: U.S. well being departments have not been ready to try this up to now.
KING: Yeah, yeah. NPR’s correspondents Rob Stein, Scott Detrow – thanks, guys.
DETROW: Positive factor.
STEIN: You guess, Noel. Transcript offered by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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